Formula 1 mid-season review: Ferrari
6 August 2014 – As the Formula 1 fraternity enjoys the summer break, GPUpdate.net takes the opportunity to analyse team and driver performances over the first 11 rounds of the 2014 season. In the latest instalment, we discuss Ferrari's new direction, an over-performing Fernando Alonso and an underwhelming Kimi Räikkönen.
As one of only two teams – along with Mercedes – to design and manufacture its own engine, hopes were high in the Ferrari camp ahead of the latest turbocharged era. The F14 T would also be the first car for which highly-rated Technical Director James Allison had any real input, while Kimi Räikkönen joined Fernando Alonso over the winter to form an all-champion line-up. But it soon became clear that the Scuderia lacked performance, not only on the power front but also in terms of its chassis. "I don't like seeing Ferrari in this condition," said President Luca di Montezemolo after the opening three rounds. This led to then team boss Stefano Domenicali resigning, with Marco Mattiacci being brought in to find a new direction. A first podium finish of the season conveniently coincided with his arrival in China, but it has been a more challenging journey since then. Mid-range points finishes have become the norm, largely courtesy of Alonso who has better adapted to a sensitive car than Räikkönen. Mattiacci's changes will not produce a significant impact until 2015 at the earliest, but the first signs are there. Heading into the summer break, employees will be buoyed by the best combined result of the season at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Ferrari showed the world that it still has the strategic nous to fight at the front, providing Alonso with the platform to claim second and very nearly the race victory.
Fernando Alonso: 9/10
Alonso has been one of the stars of the field so far this season, despite being handed another Ferrari unable to challenge, on merit, at the front of the field. He has claimed both of the teams' podium finishes, calmly keeping Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo at bay in China and finishing second to the Australian after a close fight at the Hungaroring. And he has finished inside the top 10 at the other nine races, a statistic not even the dominant Mercedes drivers can boast. While Räikkönen sits 12th in the standings, Alonso holds fourth with more than four times the points total. In the process, the Spaniard is adding to his already supreme reputation, but that will give him little satisfaction. In his own words, he wants more world titles, not respect. And at the age of 33, he does not have much more time to wait for capable machinery. Perhaps the biggest question mark as the campaign develops is whether or not Alonso will choose to remain in Ferrari colours next year. A contract is in place, but they are nowadays riddled with performance clauses. Most rival teams would jump at the opportunity to hire him. A massive decision awaits.
Kimi Räikkönen: 5/10
On the back of two impressive seasons with Lotus, which saw him notch up a pair of victories and 13 further podiums, all eyes were on Räikkönen and what he could do against former nemesis Alonso. But it has so far been one of his most frustrating terms in the sport. He has particularly struggled to gain a comfortable feeling with the front-end of Ferrari's latest design, in turn affecting his ability to get Pirelli's various compounds working within their optimal windows. This has shown in both qualifying and the races. While Alonso has missed out on the final shootout just once, Räikkönen has failed to make it through on five occasions. And on Sundays, sixth place is the best on his list of seven finishes. This is in stark contrast to his team-mate's points-packed 100 per cent record. Adding to his woes, the former World Champion was hit with a wall of criticism after an uncharacteristically clumsy move at Silverstone, when he attempted to rejoin the track with his foot flat to the floor, only to hit a bump and snap into the barriers. In a typically monotone response in Hungary, Räikkönen admitted that there have been no highlights on his return to Maranello. Although there are reasons behind his struggle, he is in need of making some positive memories over the final eight races.
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